Hardcover: 272 pages Publisher: Harper (February 15, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 0061732311 ISBN-13: 978-0061732317

Rating: 3 out of 3 stars

How did Richard Ford’s cat influence his work as a novelist? HOW is Chuck Close’s portraiture driven by his inability to remember faces? What pivotal moment helped Rosanne Cash understand the healing power of the stage?

If you need inspiration, this would be the book for you to get. While this book won’t show you how to get YOUR inspiration, it shows us how others have. We follow 35 artists, writers, film makers and more and learn about their road to creativity. We often assume “the greats” were born with creativity flowing like blood through their veins, however after reading their stories, it is surprising what they had to endure in order to get that flow going.

While each story is only about 3 pages long (I do wish they were a bit longer, although then we wouldn’t have as many different views), you get an understanding of what each artist values when it comes to creativity. The bottom line: be yourself. Trust your gut and go with the simple ideas before trying to become “the next great thing”. Anyone entering any aspect of the arts should pick this book up. It’s a great representation of the real side of things. It’s not all peaches and herb. Even the greats had to make due with what they found around them. And for this reason, are able to appreciate what they have accomplished.

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How did Richard Ford’s cat influence his work as a novelist? HOW is Chuck Close’s portraiture driven by his inability to remember faces? What pivotal moment helped Rosanne Cash understand the healing power of the stage?

Creativity is an elusive subject. We enjoy its fruits—movies, novels, paintings, songs—but rarely are we privy to what happens in the creative process. In Spark, Julie Burstein traces the roots of some of the twenty-first century’s most influential and creative thinkers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Yo-Yo Ma, David Milch, Isabel Allende, and Joshua Redman. Burstein pulls back the curtain to reveal the sources of these artists’ inspiration and the processes that bring their work into being.

“These artists may not change lead into gold,” Burstein writes, “but they lift materials from their familiar contexts, combining, reshaping, transforming them into works of art that change the way we see the world.” Spark is an invaluable resource for the aspiring writer and artist, but the need for creativity extends well beyond the world of paintbrushes and typewriters. Creativity is integral to business, parenting, education, science, and, perhaps most poignantly, our personal relationships. Rarely do books on creativity illuminate and inspire; this marvelous volume will help you find a spark of your own.

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